Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v WBA

West Ham v WBA
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 6pm
TV: BT Sport 1
Radio: talkSPORT

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v West Brom

The Predictor League for WBA is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is today at 4pm.

Blast from the past

17th February 1973 – The Sweet were number one with ‘Blockbuster’; Iggy and the Stooges had just released ‘Raw Power’; Maggie Smith and Alec McCowen were in UK cinemas in Travels With My Aunt; Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em had just made its television debut and West Ham United recorded a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion in front of 26,079 at Upton Park.

West Ham captain Bobby Moore led the Hammers out having won his 100th England cap during midweek in a 5-0 win over Scotland at a snowbound Hampden Park. Ron Greenwood’s Irons were victorious against Don Howe’s struggling Baggies courtesy of goals from Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson and Billy Bonds; Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown was on the scoresheet for the visitors. Robson (pictured below, celebrating with Bonds in a victory at Crystal Palace the following month) scored 28 goals in 46 appearances in 1972/73, a tally which made him the Football League’s top goalscorer that season; he was also voted Hammer of the Year with Trevor Brooking runner-up.

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The Hammers continued a march which saw them end up sixth in the First Division. The Baggies were to finish bottom in 1972/73 and were relegated. Liverpool won the First Division title and Sunderland won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Johnny Ayris, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Pat Holland, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Clyde Best.

Club Connections

Craig Dawson welcomes his former club, while Robert Snodgrass and Grady Diangana return to London Stadium. Former Baggies player and Hammers manager Sam Allardyce is now in charge of the visitors. The Irons and the Baggies have shared a decent number of players over the years. These include:

Defenders: Danny Gabbidon, Peter McManus, David Burrows, Steve Walford, Gary Strodder, Tyrone Mears, Harry Kinsell.

Midfielders: Peter Butler, Alan Dickens, Franz Carr, Freddie Fenton, Morgan Amalfitano, Nigel Quashie.

Strikers: Geoff Hurst, Tudor Martin, David Speedie, Frank Nouble, John Hartson, Chippy Simmons, Vince Haynes, Tommy Green, David Cross.

Alan Pardew has managed both clubs. Archie Macauley played for West Ham and managed West Brom, while Super Slaven Bilic played for the Hammers and managed both clubs. Bobby Gould played for both clubs and also spent a period as manager at The Hawthorns.

This week’s focus though is on a player who played for West Ham and had a loan spell at West Brom. Jeroen Boere was born in Arnhem on 18th November 1967. He started his career with Excelsior in 1985 before moving to De Graafschap two years later. An old-fashioned centre-forward in the target man mould, Boere moved to VVV-Venlo in 1988 but returned to De Graafschap in a loan deal – he scored an impressive 28 goals in 56 appearances during his two spells with De Graafschap. Boere was on the move again in 1990, signing for Roda JC but he returned to VVV-Venlo later that same year. He joined Go Ahead Eagles in 1991 before moving to England two years later.

The 25-year-old Boere joined Billy Bonds’ newly-promoted West Ham United for a fee of £250,000 in September 1993, hot on the heels of the arrivals of David Burrows, Mike Marsh and Lee Chapman. He suffered an ignominious debut on 25th September 1993, receiving a red card for an elbow on Kevin Scott in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle shortly after entering the fray as a substitute. Boere scored his first goal for the Hammers in a 2-0 League Cup second round second leg win at Chesterfield on 5th October 1993. He made only three further appearances in claret and blue in 1993/94 and spent the final weeks of the campaign on loan at Portsmouth.

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Boere joined West Brom on loan in the early stages of the 1994/95 campaign, with Harry Redknapp now in the manager’s hotseat at Upton Park – he made five goalless appearances for the Baggies during his loan spell at The Hawthorns. He returned to east London in November 1994 with the Irons entrenched in a relegation battle; he scored his first league goal for the club in his first Premier League start, in a 2-1 defeat at QPR on 4th December 1994. Boere followed this up with a brace of headers the following weekend in a 2-2 draw at Leeds, salvaging a point from Elland Road after the Hammers had been two goals down. Forging a promising strike partnership with Tony Cottee, Boere scored with another header against Tottenham at the Boleyn on 14th January 1995 but the Irons would lose 2-1 to a Spurs side inspired by goalscorers Jurgen Klinsmann and future Hammer Teddy Sheringham. Boere’s strike against Tottenham’s Ian Walker did, however, deny the goalkeeper a chance to break a consecutive clean sheets record held by Ray Clemence.

With the return from injury of Don Hutchison, Boere found his first team opportunities again restricted, although he did score in a 3-0 home win over Wimbledon on 13th April 1995 and bagged a vital late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Ipswich four days later, which would transpire to be his final goal for the club. He made his final appearance in claret and blue as a substitute in a 1-1 home draw with Tottenham on 30th August 1995 before joining Crystal Palace the following month as part of the deal which brought Iain Dowie back to Upton Park for a second spell. Boere had scored seven goals in 29 appearances for West Ham United – all of these goals can be viewed in my video below.

After six months with the Eagles, Boere moved to Southend in March 1996 and spent two years at Roots Hall before moving to Japan to play for Saitama-based Omiya Ardija. In May 1999, after dinner with his wife at a restaurant in Tokyo, he was stabbed in his left eye and arm by two unknown men; his attacker was reported to be an Israeli criminal who was later found shot through the head in a Bangkok river. Boere lost his eye in the incident, forcing his retirement from football at the age of 31.

After his retirement, Boere owned The Half Moon pub in Epping High Street from 1999 until 2004. He moved to Spain in September 2004 to work as a real estate agent. Jeroen Boere tragically died at the age of just 39, on 16th August 2007. Reports regarding the circumstances of Boere’s death are conflicting; some outlets reported that the Dutchman died in a car crash, possibly on Ibiza, while other media reported that he was found dead at his home in Marbella. The Ilford Recorder stated that Boere had committed suicide. Boere left his wife and child, as well as two sons from a previous marriage.

Referee

Tomorrow’s referee is 52-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his tenth Premier League match involving West Ham United – the Hammers have won six of the previous nine league matches he has officiated. His first Premier League appointment with the Irons was our 3-1 win at Southampton in February 2017. He also took charge of the Hammers for our 3-0 win at Stoke under David Moyes in December 2017 – Scott’s decision to award Manuel Lanzini a first-half penalty saw the Argentine retrospectively banned for two matches. He also refereed our 2-0 home win over Watford in February 2018, our 3-1 home win over Everton in Moyes’ last match of his first spell in charge of the Hammers and our 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in August 2018.

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Scott was the man in the middle for both our matches against Cardiff in 2018/19. The match at London Stadium saw him award a penalty to the visitors which Lukasz Fabianski saved as the Hammers went on to win 3-1. He also officiated our 2-0 defeat in the Welsh capital in March 2019. Scott was also in charge of our 2-1 defeat at Manchester United in April 2019, awarding the home side two penalties. He most recently refereed the Hammers in our 4-0 home win over Bournemouth last January, awarding the hosts a spot-kick which Mark Noble converted. Scott was also in charge for our 2-1 League Cup victory over Cheltenham in August 2013 and sent off Callum McNaughton in the defender’s only Hammers appearance as the club were knocked out of the same competition by Aldershot in August 2011.

The VAR Official is Darren England.

Possible line-ups

For West Ham United, Fabian Balbuena and Arthur Masuaku are on the sidelines. There have been 25 goals scored in the past seven Premier League meetings between West Ham and West Brom in east London. The Irons have won both of their meetings against promoted sides so far this season.

Former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has been on the losing side on both of his previous visits to London Stadium, with Crystal Palace and Everton. He welcomes back Conor Gallagher from suspension but is set to be without Sam Johnstone, Conor Townsend, Matt Phillips, Grady Diangana and Karlan Grant. Semi Ajayi has scored three goals in his past five appearances in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 49.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio.

Possible West Bromwich Albion XI: Button; O’Shea, Bartley, Ajayi, Gibbs; Livermore, Gallagher; Snodgrass, Pereira, Grosicki; Robinson.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


The HamburgHammer Column

Clean sheeters DO prosper! Behold the new West Ham!

West Ham right now are a team that’s making plenty of people sit up and take notice. It’s not exactly the most breathtaking brand of football, granted. But crikey, these Hammers are tough to beat! Four clean sheets in a row are testament to a team that is well drilled and organised.
As they say: Great sides are built from the back and that’s exactly what seems to be happening at our beloved little club at this stage.
Stop leaking goals first, then take care of the attacking side of things.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was London. Not to mention West Ham.

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The Burnley game was an unusual matchday experience for me as I had rare company in my flat for the first time in ages, a mate I hadn’t seen in person for more than a year had come over, so we could compare notes as to what had happened in our lives over the last 12 months or so. I used to play baseball with the guy and he has recently become a father for the third time (welcoming his first son into the world after being blessed with two daughters in previous years).

So he had a lot more to tell than me than vice versa and we were also taking walks down memory lane, reminiscing about our glory days on the local fields of dreams, hitting line drives and making diving catches for the Hamburg Oysters. Contrary to what the moniker might suggest we weren’t posh or well minted, but as a northern team from a port city it was a fitting name with maritime/seafood connotations I suppose…and apparently a shucked oyster looks a bit like a wide open baseball glove too, so that was the reasoning behind our unusual team name.

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Marc and I had the West Ham game on in the background to usher in the evening, but I wasn’t watching as closely as I usually do. But like everyone else I was absolutely delighted with the result. Before you ask: We shared our traditional favourite dish for occasions of watching live sports together (we used to follow the NFL coverage in Germany religiously both at this place and mine over the years) – a jumbo-sized nacho platter bursting with jalapenos, minced meat, kidney beans and melted cheese accompanied by homemade sour cream and guacamole dips on the side.
Plus some lovely homemade coleslaw the recipe for which I learned to perfect during lockdown.

I have really picked up a trick or two as far as cooking is concerned over the course of the pandemic, so the food was certainly a bit spicier and tastier than the game playing out on the custard.

When Antonio scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game, my initial celebrations were rather muted. I thought this one might be chalked off by VAR. I held on to that thought even when Antonio was doing another of his weird celebrations, flipping around on the floor as if he was suffering an anaphylactic shock after munching a granola bar despite having a nut allergy…

Apparently he was merely taking punishment due to losing a game of Call of Duty against Declan Rice who in return had suggested that exact celebratory routine for one of Antonio’s next goals…

Wouldn’t it have been the most West Ham thing ever to see Antonio doing a mad celebration scoring solid 9.5 marks for awkwardness only to find VAR ruling out the goal for offside just 20 seconds later ?

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Be that as it may, the goal stood and we were up and running. It’s been statistically proven that scoring the first goal massively improves your team’s chances of winning the contest. Funnily enough, this season I also feel strangely confident even if we concede the first goal, but that hasn’t happened in quite a while, so for now I am quite content to heap praise on our defensive shape and a proper gem we picked from the “Bargain! Everything must go!” shelf.

Craig Dawson was one of the most uninspiring signings to arrive at West Ham in the past decade. That’s what 90% of our fanbase thought when he arrived. People were hoping he would never have to play for us.
That all changed when he DID start to play for us…

Indeed he is a very unspectacular, almost boring player to watch, but that’s the way I like my defenders. Let’s face it: The highlight reel wasn’t invented with Craig Dawson in mind. He is predictable in terms of doing all the basic and simple things right, leaving the showboating and complicated stuff to other players who are more inclined to take the risk of making a fool of themselves in the process.

Dawson stepped into this team and like magic he fit our team like a glove, immediately striking up a great partnership with Ogbonna and Coufal.
So much so that our glorious CB pairing has been christened Dawgbonna on social media. It certainly has a jolly nice ring to it.
It can’t be long before Dawgbonna are getting their own line of branded merchandise items in the club shop. Maybe starting with dog bowls…

I’m sure most of you will remember that launderers and drycleaners shop in Green Street (Blossom and Browne’s Sycamore) that used to greet West Ham fans on their way to The Boleyn on a matchday with those notorious signs above and below a big square clock face telling the passing punters invitingly “Don’t kill your wife – let us do it!”

Great humour that, but also quite fitting for the current West Ham players though who have made the art of keeping clean sheets a very beautiful habit for the Hammers in recent weeks.

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The clean sheeters from Stratford – some PL strikers might by now be almost ready to kill their wives if it helped them to finally put the ball into the West Ham net again…
May those sheets remain spotless for a while longer…

From what I could gather in the second half, we created plenty of promising goalscoring opportunities and squandered them all just as Burnley were increasing their pressure all the time down the other end.

We actually look alright until we get to the penalty box, then we struggle with finding an end product to reward ourselves for good build up play.
We have a tendency to keep the ball for too long or making things too complicated when a quick through ball or cross may be the better and immediately more dangerous option for the defenders to deal with.

I was almost expecting the dreaded equaliser to arrive any minute before the final whistle, 1:0 is a very dangerous scoreline and at times we were riding our luck a bit.

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As the league is so tight that win “only“ got us into 9th place for now, but also just six points behind Leicester in 2nd place. Bonkers!!!
On the other hand there is now a five point cushion between us and Arsenal in 11th place and looking at the upcoming games we seem to be destined not only to wrap up PL status for next season very early on, but also manage to cement our position in the top half of the table for the time being. Very nice indeed!

And it looks like we may wrap up the signing of Haller replacement *Boulaye Dia from Reims" in the next few days. We are certainly a more attractive option for players now, looking like a team on the way up rather than one fighting the drop as we did all too often in recent years.

Right now I think we definitely need more options upfront so that Moyes can find different formations for us allowing West Ham to attack different opposition teams in different ways. There’s more than one way to pluck a goose and right now Antonio is pretty much the only way upon which we’re relying.

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So I will definitely welcome a new striker at West Ham with open arms and eyes. Oh, and if we have a couple of million quid left I would also make the Dawson deal permanent, so we can pick up someone else on loan for the rest of the season.

Making the right signings in the next few weeks could be the difference between us qualifying for Europe or ending the season in 12th-14th place due to unexpected injuries or players being tested positive for Covid.

Squad depth is vital, as much as Moyes may enjoy working with a small squad, as long as they’re all fit and healthy that is…

Next up is a meeting with an old friend…
And, depending on your personal view, another old friend. Or foe. Yes, it’s West Brom bringing the Tartan Pele back to his old hunting grounds at the London Stadium while Samuel “My ear is forever cupped, you ungrateful cockney gits!” Allardyce will be chewing some more gum as he will be trying to out-tactic Moyes.

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Usually this constellation would worry me senseless. I would expect nothing less than Snodgrass scoring a hattrick upon his return and Allardyce giving the cameras a filthy grin while sticking various fingers up to the Hammers faithful watching at home. But this is a different West Ham. Gone is the soft underbelly. We no longer allow anyone to tickle our tummies without asking our approval first. If you want to beat us these days you gotta play hard and well. We no longer gift-wrap any points for other teams.
You want the points you bloody well earn them with your performance. West Brom should be a feisty affair and a vastly more interesting game of football than Burnley.
With hopefully another clean sheet for the Hammers at the end of the day.

COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update: Saturday brought a crucial away win for St.Pauli at midtable team Hannover 96. A crazy game where the Kiezkicker took a 2:0 lead after ten minutes, only to see Hannover equalise within the first ten minutes of the second half. St.Pauli’s manager proved to have his choice of substitutes spot on though as he brought on Igor Matanovic, a young midfielder who came through the club’s youth academy, in the 86th minute only to see him score the winner two minutes into injury time.
St.Pauli are still second from bottom, but now only one point away from a non-relegation spot.

Their cross-town rivals Hamburg SV will try to reclaim top spot from Bochum when they’re facing the team they signed their current gaffer from in the summer, VFL Osnabrück. You can follow that game live on BT Sport 1 if you fancy a bit of German football, kick-off is at 7.30 pm UK time.


Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

From The Vaults: West Ham United v Burnley Saturday 3rd November 2018

The Predictor League for WBA is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is Tuesday at 4pm.

Continuing my series on highlighting past home matches.

Despite a winless October West Ham put in a performance that Manuel Pellegrini described at the time as the best by the team since he took charge. Lead by man of the match Felipe Anderson, the Hammers were bold, thrilling but also showed a brittle side, superior against a struggling Burnley, but not convincing.

Sean Dyche’s team had been struggling to maintain the momentum of the previous season that saw them reach unexpected heights and with heavy losses to Manchester City and Chelsea were taken apart by the home sides’ adventurous play.

Anderson, who was poor against Tottenham Hotspur in the recent Carabao Cup defeat and substituted at half time for Robert Snodgrass, spearheaded a dominant display at the London Stadium as he sliced through the Burnley defence at will.

Arnautovic opened the scoring for the Hammers when he dispossessed James Tarkowski and raced clear to fire home. The Hammers could have run away with the match with Joe Hart making excellent saves from both Arnautovic and Pedro Obiang with Ben Mee rescuing his side with a goal line clearance. But Burnley managed to equalise against the run of play through Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s slotted home goal just before half time.

With the introduction of Javier Hernandez on the hour the Hammers went out for victory and despite Mee saving his team again to deny Hernandez a goal almost with is first kick, Burnley could not hold out much longer. Excellent work from both Arnautovic and Diangana in 68th minute set up Anderson who fired home between the advancing Hart’s legs from just 12 yards out.

With the introduction of both Robbie Brady and Chris Wood, Burnley we able to fashion an equaliser from a corner, with Brady delivering for Wood to head powerfully home for an equaliser.

But the Hammers were out for the win, and two opportunities for Anderson created with more wonderful interplay between Diangana and Arnautovic provided Felipe with a chance that the Brazilian took to find the net from a deflection off Mee, who was unable to save the team this time round.

Anderson, who had struggled to settle having scored only one goal since joining the team in July, showed his influence again when he delivered a sublime cross field pass that began an attack that lead to Hernandez scoring again from the bench. Anderson, who took more touches and played more passes than anyone else on the pitch, drew praise from Pellegrini, who said despite his poor performance against Spurs in the Carabao Cup, put in a massive performance against Burnley.

“I said before the game that maybe some players need more time to adapt to the league, but his commitment has always been 100%,” said Pellegrini.

“I talked a lot with him, and there was never a chance of him not playing. He knew from the beginning that despite playing bad against Tottenham, he was going to play. It was a massive performance.”

Diangana also stood out with the 20 year old’s direct approach giving Charlie Taylor, Burnley’s left back, a difficult afternoon. His performance included 5 key passes and an assist for the second goal by Anderson.

The win kept West Ham in 13th place on just 11 points, with Burnley in 15th on just 8 points.

Hope everyone is safe and well.


Player Analysis

Comparing West Ham's Striker Targets

Abdallah Sima, Marko Arnautovic, Josh King, Patson Daka, Boulaye Dia, Eddie Nketiah… You can tell it’s January and West Ham are on the hunt for a striker. There have been so many names appearing over the last two weeks that it’s seemed almost impossible to keep track.

So, with a bit of extra time on my hands thanks to the pandemic and a growing curiosity over what we were looking for in our Sébastien Haller replacement, I decided to set about profiling and comparing a handful of those linked so far.

All of the data below has been taken from this season (12.9.20 – present) and compares the linked forwards to each other and to current main man, Michail Antonio (outlined in orange). Source: “Wyscout”:https://wyscout.com/

It’s been suggested this week that our top two targets would be Boulaye Dia and Patson Daka so my analysis will focus on those two. And players with <300 minutes played this season will be excluded from any comparisons.

Though Daka has a significant lead on Dia here, it shouldn’t be underestimated just how good both of these records are. Dia is fifth in Ligue 1 by this measure and Daka is second in the Austrian Bundesliga.

For reference, the current leader in the Premier League is Anwar El Ghazi (0.86).

Adjusting the data to show just non-penalty goals per 90 tells a different story. Once you remove Dia’s penalty goals, he falls from being the fifth most regular scorer in Ligue 1 to 15th, level with less reputable names like Moussa Konaté and Habib Diallo.

Dia has scored five penalties this season rather than the four suggested in the tweet.

Looking at their finishing, Dia has a strong record ? a 38% conversion rate places him top in Ligue 1 (of players with ten or more shots). And while Daka isn’t quite as strong in this area, he still boasts a very respectable ratio of a goal every four shots.

Both are overperforming their xG and would be considered clinical finishers.

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Patson Daka can match Mohamed Salah’s 25% conversion rate.

It’s not all about goals and finishing though. Sometimes it’s all about scrapping, chasing and battling for the ball…

Offensive duels track how well a player protects the ball from the opposing defenders in holding the ball up and dribbling without losing possession. Both targets have solid numbers here that are an improvement on Antonio (32%) and Haller’s (27%) returns.

Comparing aerial ability is where the first and only major red flag appears. While Daka’s 42% success rate is respectable, Dia’s 21% rate would place him in the Danny Ings/Rhian Brewster/Callum Robinson region of the Premier League strikers table when ranked by aerial prowess. Right at the bottom.

This would potentially be a serious concern given our tendency to spend short periods of games launching the ball long to try and alleviate pressure. If Dia was unable to win many of these duels, we may find ourselves unable to turn the tide in those crucial moments.

When comparing them by ball carrying ability, Dia comes out ahead. This isn’t surprising given Dia’s role as a lone striker in Reims’ defensive, counter-attacking system, he is often tasked with dragging his team up the pitch. Though neither player post particularly impressive numbers here and they both come out in the lower halves of their respective divisions.

This could potentially be a concern given how impactful and important Antonio’s ball carrying has been for us over the course of Moyes’ second stint as manager. Something to work on in training…

Lastly, a look at their passing ability and creativity. Here it’s clear to see that the two players have very different styles.

Daka is more likely to attempt penetrative passes in forward areas but does so with a very low success rate (22% of his smart passes find their target). And Dia is more consistent in his safe selection of passes though when he does try a smart pass, he completes those with an even lower success rate (17%).

It would be a priority to ensure Daka understands the importance of keeping possession when we do get it and for him to improve his pass selection to eradicate some of the ball-losses.

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I think the key takeaway from all of this is that these are good targets.

Both Boulaye Dia and Patson Daka are, on paper, good options to play the central striking role for a David Moyes team. They have the necessary attributes to successfully battle for and protect the ball and then take their chance when it comes. And both are quick and powerful in the Michail Antonio mould. Either would bring some genuine youth, enthusiasm and competition to the striker department at West Ham.

But I do have a preference. And that would be Patson Daka.

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The young Zambian striker has an absurd goalscoring record and possesses the pace to play on the shoulder alongside the strength and aerial ability to play with his back to goal. Though there are fair concerns over his level of experience playing as a lone striker (he is often deployed in a front two at RB Salzburg), those physical attributes stand him in good stead to be able to handle the solitary role.

Dia may be well-acquainted to the role but his long-term form is cause for concern. Joint top scorer in Ligue 1 this season but his seven goals last season paint a less exciting picture.

Daka’s form is far more consistent. 24 goals in 31 games last term and eight in eight this season are exciting returns and although some would argue “It’s the Austrian Bundesliga!”, he’s at RB Salzburg where the quality of backroom work and training is high. This is the same club that has produced names like Sadio Mané, Erling Haaland, Dayot Upamecano and Naby Keïta in recent years.

He may cost a fair chunk more but would hopefully provide a long-term solution up-top. And if anything did go wrong, his significant resale value would offer some protection.

Who would you choose?


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